IA Coursework & Careers

Students in Lesley Hayman-Sager's Design Fundamentals 220 class take measurements in the Design Gallery in the School of Human Ecology, which is housed in new Nancy Nicholas Hall, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 10, 2012. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

As an Interior Architecture major, you’ll learn how to blend art and social sciences (how people interact their environment, the history of design) with physical sciences (the effects of materials on the physical health, the comfort of inhabitants). SoHE students work with clients on real-world projects, from the basics of a chair to full house remodels and commercial revamps.

Coursework includes sketching, rendering, computer drafting and design, 3D modeling, art and art history, history of interiors, business, and engineering. Real-world experience is enhanced through internships. Plus, you’ll graduate prepared to sit for the prestigious NCIDQ exam and armed with an impressive and professional work portfolio. For coursework details, contact your academic advisor or reference the UW-Madison Undergraduate Catalog.

Graduates of our IA program have found employment at large, internationally recognized design companies, including Gansler, Flad Architects, Strang, Herman Miller, and Steelcase. Others have started their own design firms.

Types of Interior Architecture Careers:

Interior Designers
Residential Designers
Commercial Designers
Visual Merchandisers
Store Planners
Project Managers
Graphic Designers
Interior Architect

Where Are They Now?

Below is a snapshot of the different positions and organizations Interior Architecture alumni have found employment with 1-3 years post-graduation.

Interior Architecture Alumni Careers – PDF

More About Interior Architecture

Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. For more information refer to NCIDQ.

More About Our IA Program

The undergraduate major in interior architecture is a four-year professional program accredited by the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. The program develops students’ creativity in the design and planning of interior spaces by emphasizing the process and communication of design. Students learn to integrate the art of design with the social sciences concerning the interaction of people and their environment, the history of design, and the physical sciences relating to the effects of materials on the physical health and comfort of inhabitants. Insight into professional practice is enhanced through internship experieIA sample roomnces.

Course content helps students develop communication skills such as sketching, rendering, computer-aided design, and three-dimensional modeling. Real world projects and design thinking experiences are emphasized in several of the studio courses. In addition, courses in art history, history of interiors, mechanical engineering, and art are required. Dedicated studios, a maker space, a resource library, lighting demonstration areas, and a computer laboratory provide physical support for the interior design curriculum. A portfolio is required before graduation.

Phase One

Courses help develop skills in drawing, AutoCAD, and model making. Students learn how to apply the design elements and principles to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects. Students are introduced to evidence-based design and the design thinking process. At the end of this phase students apply to phase two.

Phase Two

Studio classes in phase two begin with an emphasis on light commercial and residential design. All projects take a human-centered approach and several require students to apply historical precedence to their design solutions. At least one project focuses on the redesign of a non-profit organization where evidence-based research is needed. Students gain an understanding of building codes, universal principles and ADA guidelines. During this year, students gain extensive knowledge in historical styles, and become proficient in sketching, rendering, AutoCAD, and Revit.

During the last studio, students have the opportunity to choose from four areas of interest and work directly with a design firm. Projects range from retail to education to health care to hospitality. Evidence-based research and real client feedback are the corner stones for the success of these projects There are no required courses the final semester, thus providing the students with the opportunity to take on a full-time internship, study abroad or graduate early.